Last night at Alexander Gray Associates, Joshua Katcher founder of ethical fashion house Brave GentleMan and The Discerning Brute, a men’s lifestyles website, presented an installment of his lecture series “Fashion & Animals.”
Joshua Katcher’s informative talk centered on sustainable fashion, and our obsession with furry little creatures as pets and clothing. As a vegan and founder of a cruelty-free men’s clothing line, he began to notice “tropes” emerging from the imagery of fashion advertisement that paired models with cuddly furry animals, like kittens and lamb, while wearing sumptuous furs. We love animals so much that we absolutely must be surrounded by them, and draped in their hides.
Joshua touched on the history of fur and fashion, a King once declared (Sumptuary legislation) that only the elite could wear fur. And in today’s status driven society, that decree has pretty much stuck. The talk focuses on current unconscionable trends which we’ve been conditioned to tuck away in the bottom drawer, as well as solutions to the current crisis.
Cognitive dissonance, is the psychological prognosis says Katcher. We can’t resist the look, feel, and smell of prized possessions. Bunnies are for Easter, and a snug little fur coat.
Katcher is curious why lambs are the most often used animal in these types of advertisements. Innocence! Mary and the lamb… the Virgin! She can do no wrong.
Ethical clothing is the next evolution in fashion. In its sphere of concern is the entire ecological system. Ethical clothing made from recycled plastics, machined into thread without the use of water is in full production. Biotechnology, high-tech synthetics, and plant-based organics are a growing source for new and seasoned fashion houses, including his own, Brave GentleMan.
Businesses like Katcher’s are at the forefront of a rising conscious practice. It is one that has evolved out of crisis, activism, and responsible practices. We see for profit businesses created by passionate individuals, who seek not only to make a living but raise awareness. Patrons of the product are immediately engaged at a deeper level. Much more than just a consumer, the products they buy also educate, and improve conditions ecologically, and perhaps someday cool the fur and hide trade. What a concept.
You can read more about Joshua Katcher in the current issue of The Wild Magazine, which hit newsstands earlier this month.